In the first quarter of 2008, public equity markets have struggled. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ are all down. So, too, are the publicly traded insurance brokers.

Indeed, the valuations of public brokers, expressed as a multiple of EBITDA–Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization–are at levels not seen since the late 1990s.

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